Have you ever heard of the Art of the Disappearing Counsel?

The skill of putting across a point requires the skill that infuses all the writings of all civilisation. It is the oldest skill in the world. And here it is!

[1].  Have you heard of the  ‘Disappearing Counsel’?

Suppose you are addressing the court.

Apart from the occasional rustle of papers and the hum of the air conditioning, the court is quiet.

All five judges of the Federal Court are listening attentively.

You are telling your client’s side of the story.

[2].  If your words are compelling, time does not matter

There is an occasional query; the others are eager for the story to continue.

The court is interested in the story. 

Not you.

Not your Brioni suit.

Not your false western accent which neither fits below south of the Watford Gap, nor above the lilt of Yorkshire.

It is your client’s story.

It is so compelling the judges begin to see pictures of the various points in the story.  It is like watching a video.

[3].  So tell it

You disappear.

Only your story is alive, and organic.

It is a living creature.

It enacts itself before the eye of the court’s mind.

[4].  The story has all the hallmarks of truth



The sudden twist.

And then the shining question.

Not a confused conclusion that pulls at the nose of the court, but a question that compels the judges to answer in your favour.

[5].  Have you ever told stories to you children? Or grandchildren?  Try it.

Not all the rhetoric or legal training in the world will prepare you for the innocent, probing questions with which children assail a doubt.  If you can answer them, you can answer any supreme court.  In any country.

That dear friend, is the disappearing act.  It is the tradition of telling a truthful story.

And that is a tradition of the Bar!

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